Every year Mechanical Hub is honored to sponsor a plumbing apprenticeship contest entrant, and this year’s PHCC CONNECT in Albuquerque is no different. “Being entered into this contest is an honor. Competing against the best of the best in my trade is a feeling that I cannot explain. I am beyond thankful for this opportunity; I am thrilled to show people my passion for plumbing,” says fourth year apprentice, Chris Pinette, E.H. Marchant Co., a smaller union contractor through the local 12 based out of Quincy, Mass.
Most of E.H. Marchant’s work is doing tenant fit outs and restaurants; they also do work in several of the office buildings, hospitals, museums, breweries, schools, universities, sports arenas and many other places surrounding the heart of Boston. The company’s focus is filling the large towers, residential housing and office buildings that are starting to fill the Boston skyline. “My company has a successful service department that is continuing to grow. We have been part of the team that has helped build the Winn casino, which is due to open soon. We also have been a huge part in building up the seaport district in Boston that has been going through an unreal transformation,” says Pinette.
Pinette’s interest in the trades started when he was very young; his grandfather was a “jack-of-all-trades” and had a workshop in his own basement. “Growing up in his house, I had spent a lot of my time down there helping him with many of his projects. I learned a lot from him, and I grew interested in what we had worked on together.
Eventually, when it came down to making a decision on choosing a high school, Pinette, from Rehoboth, Mass., decided to attend a trade school—Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School in Franklin, Mass. “This was one of my best decisions I have made to help begin my career. After going through nine training programs at the high school, I narrowed down my search to metal fabrication and plumbing. After much deliberation, I made a final choice to explore the plumbing shop. This was the beginning of my career in plumbing,” says Pinette.
I chose plumbing, recalls Pinette, because it was fascinating to know how plumbing works. As with most in the trades, Pinette enjoys using his hands and he enjoys learning the science behind how plumbing works—knowing how systems are piped, what makes waste go from point A to B, how the atmosphere affects the system and how pressure works to move water. “It makes me believe that plumbers are partly scientist because they need to know how and why plumbing works in order for it to be efficient,” says Pinette.
There are many perks to the job and Pinette is thankful for being part of E.H. Marchant for the better part of four years. One of those perks is that Pinette has had the pleasure to work in a lot of “cool” places in Boston. “Every day is something new; working in these places never becomes a dull moment for me.”
Yet what Pinette enjoys most about plumbing is being able to look back at his own work and see his progress. “There is no better satisfaction than seeing my work become effective. Some people have told me they think plumbing is cut and dry, but there’s a lot more to it. Plumbing takes a lot of time and planning; I am always certain that everything in my projects moves as smoothly as it should. Knowing the time and effort I have put into it makes me proud of what I have done,” says Pinette.
Pinette started off as a truck driver delivering tools and material to the job sites. “During my first year working, I applied to local 12 and I was welcomed into the program. Since then I have been working at E.H. Marchant as an apprentice, with the motivation to run work in the future,” says Pinette.
For those thinking of entering the trades? Pinette would highly recommend the plumbing trade. According to Pinette, there is a ton of work out there if you are willing to get your hands dirty. “If I had to give one piece of advice, it would be to listen and learn from the people you are working with and then choose what works for you. You’ll eventually form into the plumber you want to become with all you have learned from your teachers. Work hard and you will be rewarded for it in time,” says Pinette.
Heading into this week’s PHCC plumbing apprenticeship contest, Pinette is beyond thankful for this opportunity. “I am thrilled to show people my passion for plumbing. I am nervous along with feeling anxious because these are big shoes that need to be filled but I believe that I can do it. I was chosen to compete in the apprenticeship contest for a reason, and I cannot wait to show them what I am made of,” says Pinette.